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L&I Announces $2.6 Million Available to Prepare Students for Good Jobs in the Post-Pandemic Economy

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

Gov. Wolf’s Back to Work PA plan would invest $3 billion in much-needed workforce development funding

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier announced today $2.6 million in Schools-to-Work program grants is available to support new partnerships between schools, employers, organizations, or associations to create employment and training career paths for students. Gov Tom Wolf has proposed to inject $3 billion in the workforce development through his Back to Work PA plan that would prepare workers for the post-pandemic economy.

“The Schools-to-Work program grants will create hands-on learning opportunities for students, including apprenticeships, workplace visits and internships that will create career paths to employment or secondary education,” said Berrier. “These funds will help ensure that our workers obtain the industry-recognized skills, certifications or college credits needed to put them on a solid career path to employment and help meet current and future labor market needs.”

The governor has made strengthening Pennsylvania’s workforce a priority. His Back to Work PA plan would tackle numerous barriers to employment identified by the bipartisan Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center, including the lack of workforce development and available training Pennsylvanians need for high-demand, good-paying careers.

Schools-to-Work grants will be awarded and funded competitively in increments up to $250,000 to create learning opportunities for participating students that will include classroom training, workplace visits, internships, apprenticeships, mentorships, employment opportunities, job shadowing or externships. Applicant proposals must focus on building programs that will fill current and anticipated labor market needs in a given geographic area.

“The schools-to-work program will create local career pathways in our communities throughout Pennsylvania,” Rep. Jared Solomon said. “This law establishes a program that will provide incentives to schools and local businesses to collaborate in dynamic partnerships providing work-based learning opportunities, apprenticeships, and jobs for high school students during the school year, the summer and after graduation. In addition, the bill would encourage a dynamic relationship between schools and businesses to create curricula that bring real-life experiences into the classroom that prepare students for life after high school.”

Eligible applicants must be an entity that is or will be registered with L&I as a pre-apprenticeship program and which will have the full responsibility for the administration and operation of the Schools-to-Work program. This applicant or program sponsor must be partnered with at least one school in a school district, charter school, regional charter school, cyber charter school, intermediate unit or career and technical school.

“The Schools-to-Work grants will create tremendous opportunities for Pennsylvania’s young people by helping them make the leap from school to lucrative careers,” Sen. Tina Tartaglione said. “I am very grateful to the Wolf administration for implementing and funding a program similar to the Schools-to-Work legislation I proposed in 2019.”

The Schools-to-Work grants are funded by federal Reemployment funds, which are used to support programs and services that assist individuals with becoming employed or improving their employment, such as job search and placement services, educational enhancement, job training and job readiness and workplace skills training.

Gov. Wolf is calling for $3 billion in additional funding for similar programs through his Back to Work PA initiative. These programs will help provide individualized training programs that will allow Pennsylvanians to rapidly reskill for the new jobs that emerge as part of the post pandemic economy. This will help make Pennsylvania a leader in workforce development, providing the highly desirable, skilled workers businesses need to succeed. Back to Work PA will be funded by a severance tax that aligns with those in other major natural gas-producing states that assists those states with making infrastructure investments, improving educational systems, and lowering taxes.

Additional details and the grant application for the Schools-to-Work grants can be found on L&I’s website. Grant applications are due at 4:00 PM on April 14, 2021, and the 2021 Schools-to-Work program will operate from June 1, 2021 through December 31, 2023.

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